06/28/2005 11:00PM

Pletcher awaits penalty


A horse trained by Todd Pletcher tested positive for a banned substance last summer at Saratoga, but it is uncertain what, if any, penalties the Eclipse Award-winning trainer may face.

Tales of Glory, who won a second-level allowance race at Saratoga last Aug. 4, had mepivacaine, an anesthetic, in his system following the race. The Association of Racing Commissioners International classifies mepivacaine a Class 2 drug, meaning it has "a high potential to affect performance." Mepivacaine is sometimes given to horses who are receiving stitches to repair a cut and can linger in a horse's system.

The three Belmont Park stewards - Dave Hicks, Carmine Donofrio, and Ted Hill - conducted a hearing with Pletcher and his attorneys on Wednesday morning at Belmont. The stewards have yet to hand down a ruling.

Though extenuating circumstances can cause penalties for a mepivacaine positive to vary, a trainer can receive as much as a 60-day suspension for such a violation, according to Stacy Clifford, spokeswoman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

"We have to sit down and figure it out,'' said Donofrio. "It depends on the situation, it depends on the past record. Todd's never had anything to my knowledge."

Pletcher declined comment until an official ruling is released. In 2004, Pletcher won the Eclipse Award as North America's top trainer after leading the in purse money won.

Pletcher won 35 races at Saratoga last summer, equaling the meet record he set in 2003.